22 July 2011

Bursa from a distance

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28 March 2011

Post number 1206

Has anyone seen Metin or his Talk Turkey blog? Where is Phanja? Burcu? Superhero? Remember Turkish Torque? There were others.. I used to do a periodic Hitchhiker's Guide to all the Turkish blogs.. Those were fun times I think. Deborah? Drop some old names if you know where to find them.

21 March 2011

Taking stock at 40

Not much has changed since I completed my 40th year, um.. yesterday, but what invades my thoughts more than anything is the very small number of friends I've collected. Those who know me will tell you that I have more friends than I know what to do with. I guess it's all relative. Define "friend" for me and I'll bet that my definition holds people to a higher standard of behavior and participation than yours does. I really wish I weren't this jaded on the subject of friendship, because it gets in the way. It's got something to do with childhood problems.. and no I am not about to announce that I was molested as a kid- that never happened to me- but what did happen was that we had an alcoholic in the house. Being the oldest of three, it fell upon me to be the super-responsible 12 year old.. and from there it spiraled out of control. You can't be a kid in an environment where fists are flying, glass is shattering, 911 is being dialed or you're running out the door to escape on a regular basis. When I was 17 my mother was nearly choked to death- if I did not run to her aid in that moment she would have been gone. So it's told that [adult] children of alcoholics have a hard time with a lot of things. We're crippled, we're lame, and we can't understand why. I think we have a strong tendency to shut down and build protective barriers- sometimes very subtle, sometimes very conspicuous- but they're always there- reminding others to keep their distance in order to instinctively keep ourselves out of harm's way. It's a survival tool that kept us alive long ago, but which now burdens us with it's obsolescence and brutality. Time to put down this weapon and be vulnerable? It's not for lack of trying, but it seems like whenever we let our guard down someone takes a cheap shot, someone exploits weakness, someone betrays you.. and then we say "well fuck everyone!- I don't need a single one of them".. Then the next thing you know it's your birthday and you're left wondering how you managed to isolate yourself and why you count the people who you trust on only one hand. Oh yeah, I remember now.. raging violent alcoholic in the house conditioned us to be in perpetual warrior-survivor mode. You can't get an closer to me than the length of my fucking spear. Sorry about that- it's a work-in-progress.

14 March 2011

Have you ever?..

.Awoken from a dream in which no one likes you, no one wants to talk to you or know you or be seen with you, and everyone turns their back on you and wishes you would go away or die? Hopefully not, but if it happens, go back to sleep and end your rest with a better dream. You don't want that negative shit haunting you all day. It's T-minus 4 days until 40 and it feels like someone is holding my head under-water. I don't think I'm allowed to come up for air until I blow out the fucking candles. It was just yesterday that I was in the 1st grade, gazing up at the gigantic 6th graders and wondering how awesome it was to be big.
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10 March 2011

Do NOT wish me a happy birthday..

..on Facebook. I no longer have an account there. My account was hacked by some piece of shit thug overseas.. and if you engage them, they will pretend to be me and they have the skill and technique to hack you too. There are Hacking forums loaded with the simple instructions of how to do it. Mostly a bunch of pimply teenagers I suppose- they talk about how cool and easy it is to steal someone's account "just to fuck with them". So please do yourself a favor and leave birthday wishes here, if you're so inclined.. My 40th is on March 19th, same as Bruce Willis and Spike Lee.. Then again, traffic to my blogs is kind of light lately so I'm not getting my hopes up. More than anything, I wish that people would take enough of an interest to pick up the fucking phone and call eachother. Fuck blogs and facebook and email and texting. No one talks on the phone anymore, and you can forget about getting together in person. Everyone is engorged with being popular and getting LIKEd on Facebook instead of "being" liked as a real person. Getting LIKEd is something people do TO you, sort of like getting punched or kissed. Being liked is what I would prefer to be, wouldn't you? It's pathetic how we've let technology erase our social skills and replace them with "social networking". Now that I'm out of FB it's painfully evident how many true friends are out there, and it isn't many.. it's few.. but a few good friends is all you need. Having a mutual friend with a total stranger has been sold to us as a good-enough reason to become friends with total strangers who, at the end of the day, don't give a squirt of piss about you. Stop buying that tripe and call your friends once a week instead of peeping tom on them every fucking minute of the day and masquerading it as friendship.
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07 March 2011

No more Facebook

The only profile of mine which exists on Facebook from now on, is the old account which some low-life thug in Turkey hacked from me. You are discouraged from engaging them or sending them money if they pose as me stranded in an airport somewhere. English speakers have no worries because said hacker doesn't speak English- only very profane Turkish..
Goodbye Facebook. You fucking suck.
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18 February 2011

A word about dogs and cats

I am an animal lover. Maybe not to the extent of a pet owner, but I can't resist the affection and cuddliness of a dog or cat which approaches me in a friendly way. Where I draw the line is all of the charities and rights groups which exist solely for the protection of these animals. Here's a revelation: there are people throughout the world in need of food and shelter, and until they are taken care of, no animal charity will receive dollar one from me. Saving animals from euthanasia is ridiculous. Look- there just too many domesticated pets for people to successfully take care of. Every dollar offered to an animal charity could go to a human charity instead, and SHOULD! Last I checked, euthanasia is not an option for humans in need. It's a humane option for animals, so DO IT!! Send your money to the charities which help keep humans sheltered, healthy and fed please..
Don't even get me started on pet food- the million fucking dollars spent on a TV ad for Fancy Feast could pay for the sustenance that a town of 10,000 people requires, for a long time.
More to come on this subject.
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07 February 2011


Fatherhood shapes lifetimes of behavior, habits and values. It never ends. Years after losing him, I'm in the unfortunate yet grateful position of realizing this, that he lives in me, and I carry immense guilt because my younger siblings were cheated- I had him all to myself..
Please pardon the sentimental rantings of this textbook Pisces..
Thanks for reading.
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10 November 2010

Spilling some poison..

All of my late father's violence, alcoholism, absenteeism, among various other deficiencies, are no match for my selfish wish to have him here again.. as I imagine him comforting and mentoring me through the completion of my 40th year.. at a time when youthful optimism is less than it ever was, career is in the toilet, and I hang precariously from a cloud steeped with debt.. confused about what matters most. This is about the same age when my life hero started to un-apologetically show weakness.. and to fall apart like a Chinese motorcycle.. self-medicating away the painful reality of missed opportunities, of promises made and then broken to himself.. of hopes and dreams slipping out of reach and out of sight.. We can only shine so brightly for so long, especially when the throttle is unrelentingly opened up to full power. Today I stand in his shoes and look down upon them in awe, imagining how much more completely I would have self-destructed after walking just a mile in them. I forgive everything, old man.. but not myself for being an ignorant douche-royale during most of the times when you were crying out for love, for relief, for praise, for just a little respect. I salute you.

14 October 2010

There's less of me to go around..

..and I mean it literally and figuratively and physically.. It's been nearly 2 months since my last contribution here, but I've become a bit overwhelmed with the amount of attention the internet requires from me. I'm now counting 8 or 9 blogs, plus 3 retail websites, a few social networking venues and of course horoscopes, news, weather, maps, five e-mail accounts, spam and youporn. Needless to say, your hero is spread pretty thin these days..
So a few hours after today's colonoscopy, my dear wife indicated with much amusement how helpless I looked in the recovery room.. that is.. high on drugs, tubes in my nose and arm, drooling on myself as I slowly regained consciousness.. and I couldn't resist asking her why she didn't right then and there take a picture and "Facebook it". Well apparently the idea did cross her mind but she refrained from exploiting my pain for your entertainment. Good girl.. It got me to thinking.. as we drove to the PTO meeting tonight- there must already be some good images of me injured or suffering that I can share.. and bingo! I remembered the self portrait I took of myself 4 years ago, in the ambulance after being hit by a car in Cranston while riding home from work. So after sending Ebru off to bed (she fell asleep while we watched our Netflix movie- "Guru") I resolved to find that picture and explain to you how, if that accident happened today I would have probably broken some bones.. At my annual physical this past Tuesday, I asked my doctor what my weigh-in was two years prior- 183.. one year ago- 173.. and two days ago.. drumroll..... 162 (fully clothed of course..) so at the time of this accident where I destroyed my helmet (I had blood coming out of my ear and I had stitches in my ear canal) I was about 25 pounds heavier, more cushioned with fat, perhaps even more muscular. I don't know how I would fare today in such a T-bone collision.. This morning I weighed in at 157, but of course this was in my birthday suit, and after an 18 hour period of liquid diet, Dulcolax and other bowel cleansing medications I was required to imbibe. I don't miss those extra 25 pounds. After disrobing for today's procedure and laying on the gurney, two nurses attended to my IV, blood pressure and oxygen.. when they took my pulse it was nice to hear them say "heartrate is 46- you are very fit!". Indeed, a big strong heart doesn't need to pump so often- it moves more blood with less work- an advantage which hopefully pays big dividends when I'm an old man. Ebru was with me in the recovery room today- and I don't remember a thing- but she says the alarm kept going off because my heart rate kept falling below 45. Sweet. If I never win another bike race ever again (I hear that stifled laughter- not cool), I still feel like I've won something priceless: more time on this planet with people who I love.. which assumes of course that a piano does not fall onto me or my plane does not crash or other unmentionable abbreviations of life do not occur to me..
I'm reaching an age where it's probably going to be hard resisting the urge to judge myself, judge my achievements, judge my health, judge my life's quality. So far I'm looking forward to the occasion, and hopefully many of the more difficult albeit correct choices I've made and hard work I've done for the past 10-20 years will continue to bear fruit. With so many blessings to count, age does not matter.
For those of you who wondered, my colonoscopy was a success- only one small polyp was found and removed.. and if/when I get my hands on a picture of it, hell yeah I'm going to Facebook it!
Thanks for reading.

17 August 2010

Statement/Franz Wright, August 2010

Life's random acts of cruelty bring out the best in some people. Franz Wright has the same disease which took our paternal hero from us a little over two years ago. His voiced words comforted me then as I mourned our loss, and I took possession of a few of them to use as my battle cry when life forces me to engage it in Warrior mode. I count myself honored and privileged to have received this today. Please open your heart to this opportunity to read and reflect upon such deep sincerity. -Murat

August 17, 2010/F.Wright

I feel so much dread that I might do things to make my friends feel ashamed of me. My wish is to go out the Franz people seemed to like and at times draw inspiration from. If that is to be my last gift to them, my last task or final atonement, it is a very small thing, not worth that much, but it is all I have. I have failed the people I loved most in my life so many times that it is a wonder all of them did not abandon me. Yet in the end, so many have remained. That is what astonishes me.

But I need everyone to know this: I would do it all again, precise to the second I’d live again the life I was honored with and loved so terribly and voraciously, in spite of brief and highly sporadic occasions when I had every intention of killing it. It will sound contradictory because, for one thing, it is contradictory, but I have always been thrilled, physiologically thrilled at these last words of the mountainous Martin Luther King, Jr.: I just want to do God’s will.

Looking back, it is clear that I was going to keep getting my face kicked in, and worse, continue doing harm to others, to the good-hearted sensitive and brilliant, that is, as they are the most fragile, vulnerable and easily manipulated. I was not so gradiose as to put it to myself quite this way, not consciously certainly, I knew better than that. Still it was getting more and more obvious that all that shit was continuing unabated, all that meaningless waste of time which, as Scott Cairns has said so much more beautifully, is all sin is. I knew it would go on and on, and at the same time I myself would go on living in either the terror of or the horrible little dark wish for the time when it would be stopped, and something finally stomped it into paralysis.

That very thing had already happened, in fact, about ten times or so since I was fifteen, not to mention the couple before I reached that august age. But in my mid-forties I one dead day found myself standing in a bathtub half filled with cold water and on the verge of dropping into it every electrical appliance I could find in the apartment, all securely plugged into a sturdy extension cord—I see that cramped and flourescent last room, and I see my sins before me. I prepared to see the x-ray of horror in the dark or its dark x-ray in a white glare, and considered for a moment the surprise of the woman I’d lived with for fifteen years when she got home. In spite of all the years and decades I had put into it, the strenuously exercized will to survive at any cost, and at the cost of anyone else in close vicinity, the will to be the last one left standing with absolute disreguard for the fate of others, no one would be left standing, and the room would be vacant of me for many hours, the world vacant of me forever.

The fact is I did commit suicide. I really and truly did let fall all those household appliances, gigantic radios, hair-dryers, etc., into the cold water right up over my ankles, standing there in my shitty underwear, unshaven, the aghast and hysterical ghost or vegetable-version of the person I’d been. It is also clearly the case that I was not killed, but regarding that I have never addressed You. What I found was You and where You apparently dwell, where there is positively nowhere left to turn.

I implored You to recall my childhood love of You, Old and New Testaments cover to cover more than once by the time I was twelve, the love for Your words, Your silent voice—and knocked again, and was silenced, and as You had long ago assured me, I was immediately and, it goes without saying, without regard for merit, offered entrance into Your infinite mercy and peace. And I have had to relearn how to do this, how to ask and knock so many times, so many, many times. I have, at this point in my life, at this point perhaps near the end of my life, no fear or any sense of being assailed, or hunted down, or unfairly singled out, or anything of the kind. I did learn not learn yesterday that no exception will be made for me when it comes to the fate of every human being, star, or leaf. My experience has shown me and thoroughly convinced me that every ordeal I remember and imagine, the worse the better, has led me unfailingly to a golden place, the very one I would have wanted but could not otherwise, by my own efforts, have reached, so busy was I wandering in darkness up and down the world. If I find myself facing the last great ordeal, I intend to get it right this time. To die trying. To go down raging in praise, full of faith that after I am torn to pieces, as so many times before, I will not only survive, I will be raised up, and I will see the beauty of Your house.

21 June 2010

Little Miss Sunshine: Devotchka: Till The End Of Time

This is from the movie soundtrack of "Little Miss Sunshine" one of my top 10 favorite movies. This song is so skillfully written and the melody so engaging that I turn to putty every time I hear it. The lyrics which punch me in the stomach are underlined below. Enjoy! Put this movie in your Netflix qeue.

They're just words, they ain't worth nothing
Cloud your head and push your buttons
And watch how they just disappear
When we're far away from here

And everybody knows where this is heading
Forgive me for forgetting
Our hearts irrevocably combined
Star-crossed souls slow dancing
Retreating and advancing
Across the sky until the end of time

Oh who put all those cares inside your head
You can't live your life on your deathbed
And it's been such a lovely day
Let's not let it end this way

And everybody knows where this is heading
Forgive me for forgetting
Our hearts irrevocably combined
Star-crossed souls slow dancing
Retreating and advancing
Across the sky until the end of time

Like sisters and brothers we lean on each other
Like sweethearts carved on a headstone
Oh why even bother, it'll be here tomorrow
It's not worth it sleeping alone

And look at you and me still here together
There is no one knows you better
And we've come such a long long way
Let's put it off for one more day

And everybody knows where this is heading
Forgive me for forgetting
Our hearts irrevocably combined
Star-crossed souls slow dancing
Retreating and advancing
Across the sky until the end of time